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Thought Crimes On The Left

“You can trust yourself to know who to collaborate with and in what areas; this notion that you cannot safely collaborate with the right is based on the false premise that we’re all too stupid and inept to make distinctions…” – Caitlin Johnstone

By Stuart Davies | MintPress News | July 18, 2017

A few days ago, MintPress News published a rather nasty hit piece by Yoav Litvin titled “The Green Party – Marks in a Media Con Job“, originally printed in CounterPunch a few days earlier. Litvin’s original post in CounterPunch was followed two days later by a very similar hit piece by Joshua Frank, ridiculously titled “On Caitlin Johnstone and David Cobb’s Attempt to Destroy the Green Party.”

Both articles attacked the popular progressive blogger/journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who has made a name for herself of late in international left/progressive circles for her acerbic, witty iconoclasm and pungent political analyses.

Naturally, most of those who have an appreciation for some of the excellent points that Johnstone has made in her (thus far) brief period of popularity will not agree with her thinking in every circumstance. But many of the ideas and opinions she expresses obviously resonate with considerable numbers on both the left and the right, and it is worth examining some of those ideas to get an inkling of what has gotten these two men so bent out of shape.

It seems a safe bet to disregard Litvin’s gratuitous and irrelevant sneering at Johnstone’s slim journalistic track record prior to making a big splash in social media more recently – that surely does not merit such a mean spirited attack. Ostensibly, their venom is primarily due to the fact that Johnstone has called for (an explicitly limited) collaboration with individuals on the alt-right on specific issues such as deep state lies and propaganda spewed out in the corporate media.

Both Litvin and Frank characterize those on the right with whom Johnstone has indicated a willingness to engage in limited collaboration as “alt right fascists” or the “racist far-right”. Neither of them hesitates to tar Johnstone, and anyone on the left who share her views, including David Cobb, with the most extreme rightward bigotry expressed by such limited allies on the alt right – in spite of the fact that Johnstone makes it very explicit what the parameters of her agreement (and disagreement) are with such characters.

“… there is still a lot of stigma attached to the notion of collaborating with the other side of the ideological spectrum… My own work gets criticized by establishment loyalists in this way on a daily basis; they point to the fact that I oppose things like US interventionism in Syria and the establishment narrative about Russia and then use the fact that the anti-establishment right opposes these things as well to imply that this makes me identical to the most vitriolic white supremacists of the alt-right.

… (limited collaboration) doesn’t mean we have to embrace all the beliefs of the anti-establishment right, nor does it mean we’ve got to collaborate with all of them… You can trust yourself to know who to collaborate with and in what areas; this notion that you cannot safely collaborate with the right is based on the false premise that we’re all too stupid and inept to make distinctions…”

Never mind that Johnstone isn’t the first to advocate working with elements of the right where there is common ground  – Ralph Nader made a similar case in the past, and the remarkable success of Bernie Sanders’ campaign was in large part due to his focus on issues that resonated across the political spectrum.

I have no recollection of anyone at CounterPunch coming unglued over that sort of common sense political pragmatism when Nader or Sanders called for it. Nor was there any attempt to advance the ludicrous premise that advocating such an odd political alliance amounts to embracing a full blown “red/brown” (left/fascist) alliance, or is the result of Russian influence – exerted by the Kremlin moving into the media vacuum left when the western media consolidated into one homogenous corporate mass.  So perhaps we should look elsewhere for clues as to what is getting these boy’s knickers in a knot.

In truth, what seems to really rub these self-appointed arbiters of (allegedly) leftist purity the wrong way is that Johnstone has come right out and called bullshit on a few key sacred propaganda cows. She has made the mistake of pointing out some of the lies that have been relentlessly rammed down the throats of the public regarding recent events in Syria, for example. She names names and blames western corporate co-opted governments and their colleagues in the corporate media for these misinformation campaigns.

What else are we to infer when Litvin attempts to substantiate his assertion that Johnstone is “promoting racists” with this link? In fact, this is a video about a fraudulent propaganda campaign pushed by CNN, which uses a young Syrian girl to mislead the American public about events there.

More revealing yet is when Frank uncorks here:

“So why is Cobb, and many others, so ga-ga over Johnstone? Could it be that she echoes Kremlin talking points and bogus conspiracies every chance she gets, exciting leftists looking for easy answers to today’s complex problems? Ding Ding. Of course, there’s much, much more. Despite the overwhelming evidence that DNC staffer Seth Rich wasn’t murdered for releasing emails, Johnstone has stood her conspiratorial ground. She’s also written for 9/11 Truth sites, so one can assume she is at the very least sympathetic to their fruitless cause.”

Ah, there it is! There are the narratives that must be defended by left gatekeepers everywhere! So, so reminiscent of the familiar conspiracy baiting style of the old CounterPunch.

Apparently, anyone who does not buy the blatant deep state lies regarding the two publicized chemical weapons attacks in Syria – promulgated by the Obama or Trump administration and relentlessly echoed in the corporate media – has been suckered by “bogus conspiracies and Kremlin talking points”.

In point of fact, I have noticed that Kremlin talking points often lack clarity, depth, and detail on certain issues. They might want to consider taking lessons from a few individuals in the west who have brilliantly researched and explicated some of these subjects. Unfortunately for those who peddle the pathetic lies of the corporate empire, facts matter to at least some of the public. When it comes to analyzing the question of these chemical weapons attacks, we not only have our own critical thinking abilities, we also have some excellent homegrown sources of information to draw on, such as Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh and former Pentagon chemical weapons expert Theodore Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. Litvin and Frank apparently prefer the fact free version of events offered by Niki Haley, the NY Times, and CNN.

Whether it is the well coordinated deep state propaganda campaign on events in Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Libya, the US, or elsewhere in the world, we have a fine crop of genuine left/progressive journalists with a commitment to discerning and telling the truth. On the matter of the “white helmet samaritans” propaganda, for example, we have Vanessa Beeley, as well as Eva Bartlett, or Mnar Muhawesh, John Pilger and Abby Martin.

Conspiracy theories, you say? Why bother with theories when you have a plethora of cold, hard, facts? But facts which contradict the official narrative on any subject are clearly meant to be viewed as “conspiracy theories” by our corporate masters. They remind us of this via their henchmen that permeate the corporate media, and those liberally salted within the ranks of the progressive media as well. Caitlin Johnstone’s offense is that she has gone beyond the pale with her defiant challenging of certain sacred cows of the corporate state, and that is an offense that must not go unpunished.

Stuart Davies is a writer and artist, a lifelong resident of the left coast living in Southwestern Oregon.

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

CONFIRMED: Trump’s cessation of arms to Salafists had nothing to do with Russia

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | July 20, 2017

Today, Russia’s Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the issue of America ceasing to arm Salafist jihadist groups in Syria such as the FSA was not discussed in any way during Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin.

This conforms to the analysis first published yesterday in The Duran :

“While the Washington post calls this a win for Russia, in reality this will not directly effect Russia one way or another. It is however, a win for Syria.

By most reasonable accounts, the conflict in Syria could have ended far earlier if not for the CIA and other US actors arming, funding and training Salafist jihadist fighters in Syria (often referred to as moderate rebels by the western mainstream media).

As even the Washington Post admits, almost in a gloating fashion, arming such jihadists was a flagship policy of the United States under Barack Obama.

This will take a substantial deal of pressure off the Syrian Arab Army and their fight against remaining terrorists in Syria.

Ever since Trump took office, the general trajectory of US meddling in Syria shifted from arming jihadists to arming, funding and working in close military coordination with Kurdish forces.

Today’s revelation simply affirms what was long the apparent on the ground policy of the United States since February of 2017.

It is key to remember that even after this announcement, the US presence in Syria is still illegal according to international law…..

At present, there is no overt linkage to these events and Donald Trump’s meeting at the G20 summit with Vladimir Putin. …

This contradicts the assumptions made in the Washington Post that somehow the move was a “victory for Putin” or that it represented Trump capitulating to a Russian demand.

The Washington Post’s assertion that Trump’s decision was “sought by Moscow” is patently misleading and that is being charitable.

Furthermore, under Donald Trump, the United States was moving in this direction since February when it became clear that the new US administration sought to shift the focus of it’s Syria policy from arming jihadists to arming secular Kurdish forces, a move which is still illegal according to international law and opposed by a vast majority of Syrians.

While Russia, Syria and Iran have all warned that any state or non-state actors funding, arming or aiding Salafist terrorists under the guise that they are ‘moderate’ will harm Syrian and wider global security, Russia has not ever attempted to dictate US policy nor has Russia issued any threats or even suggestions to the United States on how to frame its foreign alliances.

Once again, western mainstream media totally distort Russia’s foreign policy statements in order to make Donald Trump look weak or compromised.

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

More ‘fake news’: NO second secret G20 Trump-Putin summit meeting

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | July 19, 2017

That there is an active media campaign to misrepresent President Trump’s actions, and his contacts with President Putin of Russia in particular, is confirmed by the media’s reporting of a wholly fictitious ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Reports of this ‘second undisclosed meeting’ are the lead story in news reports in the British media today.  Here is the story as it is reported by the BBC, and here it is as reported by the Guardian.

To get a sense of the paranoia surrounding anything to do with Donald Trump, consider what the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus says about the meeting:

Given the poor state of relations between Washington and Moscow and the controversy surrounding Russia’s efforts to interfere with the US presidential campaign, each and every encounter between Mr Putin and Mr Trump is bound to be carefully scrutinised.

Thus the apparently impromptu discussion between the two men at the G20 dinner inevitably raises many questions. What was President Trump seeking to do in approaching the Russian president? Were matters of substance discussed? If so, why was no formal note taken? And why did the US president have to rely upon a Russian official for translation?

This is all highly unusual, especially at a time when relations between the two countries are laden with so many problems.

Mr Trump also appeared unaware of another dimension – the message that his tete-a-tete would send to other leaders in the room, who must have watched the US president’s gambit with some unease.

As for the origins of this story, it is clear that it originates with a single individual, Ian Bremmer the President of the international consulting firm the Eurasia Group. Here is how the Guardian reports his account of the ‘meeting’:

Bremmer said there was a dinner that evening for the G20 heads of state and their spouses, though not all of them attended. “There were a lot of empty seats,” he continued. “Donald Trump got up from the table and sat down with Putin for about an hour. It was very animated and very friendly. Putin’s translator was translating. I found out about it because people were startled.”

There was no one else within earshot, Bremmer added, and it is not known what the men discussed. Trump was not joined in the conversation by his own translator, which is thought to be a breach of national security protocol. The White House later said that the translator who accompanied Trump spoke Japanese, not Russian, and that was why Trump and Putin spoke through the Russian translator.

Bremmer added: “It’s very clear that Trump’s best single relationship in the G20 is with Putin. US allies were surprised, flummoxed, disheartened. You’ve got Trump in the room with all these allies and who’s the one he spends time with?”

Such was the level of concern that someone decided to bring it to Bremmer’s attention. He said he had expected the White House to go public. “I sat on this for days hoping they would talk about it. I knew last week. It didn’t happen. I’m an analyst; I’m not in the business of breaking news,” he said.

This is utterly absurd. Discernable through the hysteria is what actually happened. During a dinner at which other G20 leaders were present Trump and Putin met and spoke with each other, though the amount of time they spent in each other’s company is disputed (the White House denies it was anything close to an hour).

This is not only perfectly normal. It is what such dinners are for: to enable leaders to get to know each other and to speak to each other in informal settings without their aides present.

No one expects serious business to be done during such meetings. In the absence of aides and with the leaders unprepared and with no formal record kept of what is said, conducting formal business during such meetings is impossible.  To compare such informal meetings with proper summits is ridiculous.

It is universally acknowledged that establishing a personal relationship between leaders is essential for effective diplomacy. That is why these sort of dinners take place. Trump was simply doing his job by making the most of the opportunity provided by this one.

The White House has provided its response to the reporting of this meeting

During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely. There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd. It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders.

This is obviously correct, and it has been echoed by this typically pithy comment by President Trump himself:

What is disturbing about this story is not so much the gross misrepresentation of this perfectly innocuous meeting.  Rather it is the revelation that the President is being straightforwardly spied on, so that he cannot have a conversation at a dinner party without news of it being broadcast, and having the nature of the meeting completely misrepresented, by the media.

This is straightforward sabotage of the President’s work. One does not have to like President Trump or agree with his policy of seeking a rapprochement with Russia to be deeply disturbed by it.

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Gulf Crisis: US Admits Fake News of Russian Hacking

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.07.2017

In a sharp about-turn, US intelligence agencies are now accusing the United Arab Emirates for hacking into Qatar’s official news agency, thereby sparking the Gulf crisis between Washington’s Arab allies. The latest twist amounts to an admission that the US is guilty of previously broadcasting fake news blaming Russia.

This week, the Washington Post cites US intelligence officials when it reported Monday: «The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors».

However, last month, on June 7, the American news outlet CNN had a completely different take on the Gulf crisis, when it blamed Russia for trying to sow division between US allies in the Persian Gulf. It reported in an «exclusive» article with the headline: US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis.

That CNN report went on to claim: «US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries».

While CNN hinted that the alleged Russian hackers in the Gulf could have been criminal privateers, the thrust of its report last month very much pointed the finger of blame at the Russian government for hacking into the Qatar news agency. Using assertion, speculation and anonymous sources, the alleged Russian cyber-attack on Qatar was linked to alleged meddling by the Kremlin in the US presidential election last year.

«US intelligence has long been concerned with what they say is the Russian government’s ability to plant fake news in otherwise credible streams, according to US officials», reported CNN.

But now this week, US intelligence officials have changed their tune on who they think is whipping up the Gulf crisis. It is not Russia, it is the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

«[US] Officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by US intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation,» reports the Washington Post this week.

For over a month now, the UAE has aligned with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to blockade Qatar, another member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The crisis has become deadlocked with neither side willing to back down, much to the strategic concern of Washington. All of the monarchial energy-rich states are longtime allies of the US and together as a unit are a linchpin in maintaining the global petrodollar system. The other GCC members, Kuwait and Oman, have taken a neutral stance in the diplomatic crisis and have acted as brokers to resolve the dispute. Egypt, has joined with the Saudi-led bloc, to impose sanctions against Qatar.

The row blew up dramatically days after US President Donald Trump made an official state visit to Saudi Arabia on May 20-22. In exchange for a record $110-billion arms deals with the Saudi rulers, it seems clear that Trump gave the green light for the Saudis to instigate a blockade on Qatar. Ostensibly, the Saudis and the others are accusing Qatar of sponsoring terrorism and, they say, that is why they acted to isolate the neighboring gas-rich state. The absurd hypocrisy behind the accusation belies the real motive of petty rivalry among the Gulf monarchs. In particular, the Qatari-based Al Jazeera news network has been a bane for the Saudi and Egyptian rulers owing to its relatively independent and critical reporting on repression in those countries. Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood has also rankled the Saudis and Egyptians.

Two days after Trump flew out of Saudi on May 22, the official Qatari News Agency was hit with a fake news attack. Its news reports attributed statements to the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, in which he praised Iran – the Shia arch-enemy of the US-backed Sunni monarchies – as well as making critical comments about Trump.

The whole debacle was an obvious set-up. Despite urgent notices from Qatar that its new agency had been hacked with fake news, the Saudi, Bahraini and Emirati media continued to prominently report the statements as if they were genuine, with the evident intention of smearing Qatar and provoking a stand-off.

The stage was then set for Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to announce on June 5 a total embargo of commercial, media and transport links with Qatar «because of its support for terrorism and friendly relations with Iran».

US President Trump initially voiced support for the blockade on Qatar, claiming it as a success from his trip to Saudi Arabia.

«So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King [Saudi King Salman] and 50 countries already paying off», Trump smugly declared through his Twitter feed. «They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!»

But ever since Trump set off the worst crisis in the Gulf among US allies, his top diplomat Rex Tillerson has been busy trying to calm the row.

Qatar serves as the base for US Central Command in the Middle East with an airbase housing 10,000 troops. American warplanes flying out of Qatar are the main strike force for operations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Strategic planners in Washington realize that the US cannot afford to alienate Qatar.

Tillerson has diverged noticeably from Trump’s simplistic broadside supporting Saudi Arabia, and has instead sought to bring Qatar back into the GCC fold. The US Secretary of State has hinted that the Saudi-led blockade is draconian and unrealistic. On June 23, Saudi Arabia and its partners demanded that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera network along with a dozen other ultimatums. Qatar refused.

Last week, Tillerson had a frenetic week of shuttle diplomacy flying between Qatar and Saudi Arabia to get both sides to compromise. On Friday, July 14, the former Exxon CEO returned to the US deflated, unable to break the deadlock.

While traveling back to the US, Tillerson alluded to the strategic importance at stake for Washington in maintaining Gulf Arab unity. He said it is «really important to us from a national security standpoint. We need this part of the world to be stable, and this particular conflict between these parties is obviously not helpful».

This would explain why the US has now moved to expose the Saudi-led camp as being behind the fake news hack incident against the Qatari news agency.

That disclosure undermines the Saudi-led position. It confirms what the Qataris have been saying from the outset; namely, that they have been set up for a faux crisis by Gulf rivals, whose objective is to subjugate Qatari sovereignty under Saudi tutelage. Shutting down the «offensive» Al Jazeera news station being one of the desired outcomes.

By undermining the Saudis and UAE in this way, the US is wagering that it can lever the Saudis and the others GCC members into softening their demands on Qatar.

So keen are the US military and geopolitical planners to defuse the prolonged Gulf crisis – a crisis that threatens the petrodollar system – that they were obliged to come clean about the real identify of the perpetrators of the cyber attack on Qatar. That means dishing the dirt on the Saudis and UAE as the source of the hack, and abandoning the earlier claim that Russia was to blame.

CNN is once again caught out faking news about Russian hackers. At the time of its «exclusive» last month accusing Russia of destabilizing US allies in the Gulf, the news channel at least had the decency to quote Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on the claim.

Peskov said in the June 7 report: «It is another lie.. CNN again and again publish references to unnamed sources in unnamed agencies, etc, etc. These streams of information have no connection with the reality. It is so far away from the reality. Fake is a fake».

What the whole episode shows is not just how irresponsible US intelligence officials and major media are in publishing false claims defaming Russia. It also shows them as unscrupulous and expedient.

Just because the lingering Gulf crisis is spiraling to threaten US strategic interests, only then is there a sudden switch to a version of events that more accurately reflects reality. If it weren’t for US strategic concerns in the Gulf, the fake news put out about Russian hackers would no doubt continue. Which begs the question: if Russian hackers in the Gulf is fake news, then what does that say about similar claims of Russian hacking in the US?

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.N. says Gaza is ‘de-developing’ even faster than expected, but omits main cause

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | July 16, 2017

The United Nations has often provided valuable reports on the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (although in at least one case the UN removed such a report following pressure from Israel and the United States – see this, this, and this).

The UN’s latest report on the region, “Gaza Ten Years Later,” contains much valuable, factual information. However, parts of the report exhibit a troubling lack of proportionality. This flaw is then maintained in quoted comments on the UN report by National Public Radio journalist Daniel Estrin.

Below is the NPR news story on the UN report, with comments in Italics that discuss some of its statements:  

U.N. Says Gaza Is ‘De-Developing’ Even Faster Than Expected,  by Merrit Kennedy, NPR

Five years ago, the U.N. warned that Gaza is expected to be unlivable by 2020. A new report now says conditions are deteriorating there even faster than it forecast.

“What needed to happen has not happened, and the indicators are accelerating instead of slowing down,” Robert Piper, the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told NPR’s Daniel Estrin.

“In a nutshell, Gaza continues to de-develop in front of our eyes,” Piper adds. “From health care, to unemployment, to energy, to access to water, across all of these fields, Gaza’s 2 million people are seeing faster and faster decline in their living conditions.”

The population of Gaza, a 130-square-mile strip of land on the Mediterranean, is growing faster than projected, while infrastructure and services haven’t been able to keep up. The population is now forecast to reach 2.2 million people in 2020, up from the 2012 projection of 2.13 million.

The UN report, and the NPR discussion, correctly highlight the rapid pace at which Gaza is moving toward humanitarian disaster. However, as the discourse continues, a moral equivalence fallacy begins to emerge. Daniel lists three sources of Gaza’s trouble:

“Many of the problems stem from the Hamas takeover of Gaza 10 years ago, Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s recent reduction of electricity to Gaza to pressure its rival Hamas,” Daniel reports.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Undoubtedly, Hamas’ feud with the PA is part of the problem; so are the electricity shortage and the closed crossing to Egypt. But placing these factors on par with Israel’s now ten-year-long blockade ignores the facts—some of which are spelled out in the UN report:

Israel retains full control of all movement of people and goods to and from Gaza by sea, air and land, with the exception of a 12 km strip of border with Egypt…Following the expulsion of the PA by Hamas in the summer of 2007, the Israeli Government declared Gaza “hostile territory” and, again citing security concerns, announced a number of new sanctions and restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land. Many of the restrictions imposed then, are still in place. (Italics added)

It is worth taking a moment to discuss the question of Hamas, which continues to be a scapegoat for Gaza’s ongoing crisis. Hamas’ complicated rivalry with, and appropriation of power from, Fatah and the PA–and its reputation as a terrorist organization–need to be challenged.

Hamas won a democratic election in Gaza and the West Bank (in spite of the US spending $2.3 million to support Fatah and Israeli obstruction), and was promptly discredited by the US and the EU. Israel commenced sanctions only 3 days after the election. These reactions were nothing short of collective punishment by world superpowers, simply because the “wrong” party won. The charge that Hamas is nothing but a terrorist group, and Palestinians elected Hamas leaders to destroy Israel, shows a profound misunderstanding of Hamas and its rise to power.

Neve Gordon explained in this excellent 2006 article that “the organization’s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair…In other words, Hamas was elected not only because it is considered an alternative to the corrupt Palestinian Authority, but also because Israel created the conditions that made it an indispensable social movement.”

Back to the de-development of Gaza. In his discussion of the Gaza crisis, Daniel also neglects to mention the three assaults by Israel in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The UN report does mention them, but the description is problematic:

In addition to the impact of the violent Hamas takeover and ensuing Israeli measures imposed in 2007, three rounds of armed hostilities between Israel and Hamas – with the most devastating round in 2014 – have dealt repeated blows to the Gazan economy and damaged essential infrastructure.

These words may be technically accurate: yes, Hamas took over Gaza amid violence; yes, Israel imposed “measures” in 2007; yes, there have been three rounds of “armed hostilities”—but the statement is egregiously inequitable. It is absurd to suggest that the Hamas takeover was equally as damaging to Gaza as the three deadly assaults by Israel were. And the portrayal of the hostilities as though between two equal, evenly-matched armies when Israel has the latest weaponry and Gaza is essentially unarmed, is patently false. Here is a more precise description of the lopsided outcome of the hostilities, found further along in the UN report:

The first major round of hostilities broke out on 27 December 2008 and lasted for more than three weeks. During this time, nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis18 were killed and some 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed…The second major escalation of hostilities began on 14 November 2012 and lasted for one week, in which 174 Palestinians, including 107 civilians, and six Israelis, of which three were civilians, were killed, and some 10,000 homes damaged. The latest, and most devastating round of hostilities, took place between 8 July and 26 August 2014. During these 51 days, 2,251 Palestinians, including at least 146 civilians, and 71 Israelis, of whom five were civilians, were killed, and 171,000 homes were damaged.

The death toll after three “rounds of hostilities” was 3,825 Palestinians and 90 Israelis. The total number of homes damaged was 241,000—all Palestinian. In addition, schools, hospitals, and power plants were decimated. This is not a description of the aftermath of “war,” but of blitzkrieg.

The NPR story goes on to mention in passing Israel’s regulation of the border—without acknowledging the seriousness of the closure and how it affects any attempts at reconstruction. He even equates Israel’s meddling with Egyptian actions, although Egypt shares only a 7-mile border vs. Israel’s which is 32 miles long and a much greater object of hostility. Here is the statement:

Israel maintains tight control over the movement of people and goods from all sides of Gaza, aside from the 7-mile-long border Gaza shares with Egypt, which is rarely open.

The UN report describes more fully the impact the closure is having on efforts to rebuild over the last three years. This is not just “tight control”—it is crippling restriction on building materials and other critical supplies:

[Restrictions] imposed on the Strip continue to significantly impact the daily lives of Gaza’s inhabitants and the efforts of the international community to implement humanitarian and development projects. Israel considers many materials needed for these projects to be ‘dual-use’ and posing security concerns, thus subjecting them to severe import restrictions. These include construction materials, raw material for the productive sectors, including wood and pesticides, medical equipment and water pumps necessary to deal with seasonal flooding.

It is worth noting that Israeli limitation of imports included (in 2010, and is mostly still in place) wood for construction, cement, iron, tarps (for roofs on huts), fishing rods, farm animals, many spare parts for farming equipment, notebooks, pens, pencils, and toys.

The NPR report then moves on to the topic of water:

By the end of 2017, the U.N. projects Gaza’s only water aquifer will be depleted. The damage could be irreversible by 2020 due to salt water entering the aquifer. That would be “catastrophic,” the report says, and the “living and health conditions of the people of Gaza can only further deteriorate, exposing the population to water-borne illnesses, and other threats.”

The U.N. had previously said that the aquifer would be depleted by 2016, earlier than the current projection. Piper says this small piece of positive news is more akin to “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than really having much to celebrate.”

This is objectively true—although the image of “deck chairs on the Titanic” makes the Gaza situation sound more like a movie trailer than a humanitarian crisis. Let’s add some detail from the UN report to shed light on the reality:

Access to safe drinking water in Gaza through the public water network plummeted [after 2000]…As a result, reliance on water tanks, containers and bottled water rose from 1.4% to 89.6%…Having to rely on water trucking comes at a high cost on consumers, as trucked water is 15-20 times more expensive than water from the network. This particularly impacts the most vulnerable who are often poor and unemployed and do not have access to piped network water. Trucked water is also unregulated and unreliable in terms of quality.

This gives us a clearer picture of not only the expense but also the continued risk posed as the public water network becomes unusable. People of Gaza pay a premium for water that may or may not be safe.

Israel has an obligation to the people of Gaza which should be part of any conversation about the crisis. A number of prominent human rights organizations have determined that whether Gaza is considered occupied, in armed conflict with Israel, or under Israel’s control, international law demands that Israel solve the water crisis. 

NPR then moves on to waste water, describing the nightmare scenario that is happening today:

At the same time, the amount of poorly treated sewage dumped into the sea is increasing, now equivalent to 43 Olympic size pools daily. That is expected to increase by almost 10 percent by 2020, which could have “significant environmental consequences,” the report warns.

The U.N. says new water treatment facilities need to be constructed to address the water crisis. However, Israel is limiting imports on many of the materials needed for construction because it says they could be used for military purposes.

Electricity is another critical need in Gaza. The NPR report continues:

And any future new [sewage treatment] plants would require a steady electrical supply, which at the moment is highly uncertain.

In fact, “an 11-year-old child has not experienced more than 12 hours of electricity in a single day in his/her lifetime,” according to the report. It says that in the most pessimistic 2020 estimate, only 25 percent of Gaza’s electricity demand would be met.

The economy of Gaza, its employment figures, and health care provisions are also notable. NPR reports:

The economy in Gaza has significantly declined in the last decade, with per capita GDP decreasing by 5.3 percent between 2006 and 2016. The report describes Gaza’s economic trajectory as “de-development,” even as the occupied West Bank has seen 48.5 percent growth in per capita GDP between 2006 and 2016.

Gaza’s unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent, according to the latest figures. It’s particularly severe for 20-24 year olds, at 60.3 percent, and for women, at 64.4 percent.

The number of doctors, nurses and hospital beds has also not been able to keep pace with the growing population. The report says, “while the population has doubled since 2000, the number of functioning primary health care clinics has decreased from 56 to 49.”

Given these “unacceptable” conditions, Piper acknowledges that for some, Gaza would already be deemed unlivable. “For many of us, we’d say that threshold is well and truly passed,” he said. “How do you manage in these sorts of conditions?”

In the report, Piper states: “It is profoundly unjust and inhuman to put Gaza’s civilians through such an ordeal.” He calls them “the victims of various policies by many different actors.”

When there is a victim, there is also a perpetrator. Gaza’s often goes almost unnamed. We must not forget who it is or rest until the humanitarian crisis is averted. 

But at least NPR reported on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, unlike most other mainstream news organizations, including the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.


 

RELATED:

On 50th Anniversary of Israeli Occupation, Palestinian Opinions Largely Ignored

The Illusion of Balance: NPR’s coverage of Mideast deaths doesn’t match reality

July 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew Alford about Hollywood and its relationship to the Army

RT Deutsch | July 13, 2015

Matthew Alford interviewed by Jasmin Kosubek from “Der fehlende Part” about Hollywood and its relationship to the Army.

July 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

97% Of Climate “Experts” Promised You The Arctic Would Be Ice-Free By 2014

Climatism | July 16, 2017

NASA ice free

The Argus-Press – Google News Archive Search

Gore Ice free 2014.png

Gore: Polar ice cap may disappear by summer 2014

BBC Ice free

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’

Guardian Ice free

Ice-free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe – scientist | Environment | The Guardian

Sierra CLub 2013

ICE WILL VANISH IN 2013 – Why Arctic sea ice will vanish in 2013 | Sierra Club Canada

•••

CLIMATE experts have been saying this same story for generations:

North Pole.png

04 Apr 1923 – THE NORTH POLE. – Trove

The Guardian says the Arctic will be ice-free this summer…

Guardian Ice free 2016.jpg

‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ | Environment | The Guardian

BACK IN THE REAL WORLD

ARTIC sea-ice is tracking previous years of stable extent:

current Arctic

Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

•••

UN / WEC CLIMATE CHANGE SCARE-MONGERING

NOW, climate scientists and their “97%” triad of sycophant orgs are promising you that your Arctic will be ice-free by “2040” – plenty more wriggle-room for their catastrophic predictions to play out…

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at , July 16, 12.52.16 AM.png

The Arctic could be ice free by 2040 | World Economic Forum

“Expected”, “could”…

That’s the great thing about the future.

July 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

6 Americans who should be investigated for their Ukrainian ties

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | July 15, 2017

Incoming FBI Director Cristopher Wray has stated that he would be interested in investigating links between officials of the Ukrainian regime and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

With evidence mounting that high level officials in Kiev actively worked with the Clinton campaign to try and influence US voters, it is imperative that any future investigation isn’t whitewashed simply because Kiev’s tactics failed to win the election for Clinton.

Although the investigation into Donald Trump’s non-existent links with Russia have unsurprisingly come up with virtually nothing of interest, the methods of the investigation ought to be examined and replicated where necessary in a future Ukraine-Clinton investigation.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the so-called Russiagate investigation is that seemingly anyone connected to Donald Trump who ever had a conversation with a Russian, irrespective of their lack of involvement in Russian politics, is a person of interest to investigators.

The same tactics could be accurately applied to an investigation into Clinton and the Democratic party’s links with Ukraine.

Here are the people that ought to be questioned.

1. Hunter Biden 

Hunter Biden is the youngest son of Barack Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden. In April of 2014, just two months after the February coup in Kiev, Joe Biden visited Ukraine where he gave a tub-thumping speech about the need for the Ukrainian regime to rely less on Russian gas supplies.

Weeks later, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest private sector gas company, Burisma.

While many spoke of a prima facie conflict of interest in the appointment, the US mainstream media’s favourable stance towards the Obama administration meant that the story never saw the light of day.

The issue remains prescient, especially in light of allegations regarding wide spread Ukrainian collusion with the Democratic party in respect of the 2016 election.

2. Joe Biden

The timing of Joe Biden’s anti-Russian Ukrainian gas speech and his son’s appointment to the board of a major Ukrainian energy company necessarily means that the former American Vice President is a person of interest.

No one could reasonably believe that the proximate timing of the former VP’s speech and his son’s appointment to the board of Burisma was coincidental.

This is a matter which speaks of itself.

3. Alexandra Chalupa

For over 10 years, Chalupa, a US citizen of Ukrainian origin worked for the Democratic party. It has been established that she had multiple meetings at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington D.C. in order to dig up dirt on former Trump campaign worker Paul Manafort.

Chalupa claims that her visits to the Ukrainian Embassy were for unrelated endeavours. Her word should not be take at face value. Her interactions with foreign officials in relation to the 2016 US election should be fully investigated.

 4. John McCain 

Unlike Chalupa, McCain is not a Democrat, McCain has more political ties to Ukraine than anyone in the US Senate. His position as a former Presidential candidate and a strong critic of Donald Trump makes him a person of interest.

McCain is something of a fanatic when it comes to the Ukraine issue. Prior to the coup of February 2014, McCain was frequently pictured in Kiev with many extremist and fascist leaders who actively participated in the coup.

McCain recently visited Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko along with troops loyal to the regime during the 2016/2017 New Year’s holiday.

This visit, just weeks  before Donald Trump’s inauguration ought to be thoroughly investigated as well as McCain’s other connections to a plethora of Ukrainian politicians, leaders, business and military figures.

For these reasons and because of McCain’s increasingly dubious role in allegedly leaking the so-called ‘Urinegate’ dossier to the media, he is clearly a person of interest.

5. Maxine Waters 

Maxine Waters is a Democratic Congresswoman from Los Angeles whose anti-Russian rhetoric is vile and at times incoherent, but nevertheless protected by free speech.

It is not clear if Waters has any direct connections with Ukrainian authorities, but an innocent prank call by the Russian comic callers Vovan and Lexus to Waters, reveals that she is highly susceptible to anti-Russian propaganda. The fact she engaged with the prank callers, seemingly believing that they were officials from Kiev, means that Waters ought to be questioned about any real calls she may have taken from actual Ukrainian regime officials.

For those who believe that Waters is far removed from the sandal, one ought to be reminded that political commentator Alex Jones has been accused by Hillary Clinton of being a Russian agent. It was later confirmed by Jones and other media outlets that the FBI is currently investigating whether Jones’s platform InfoWars as well as Breitbart had direct links with Russia.

InfoWars and Breitbart can hardly be considered Russophile outlets, but the fact remains that Waters has said far more in favour of Ukraine than InfoWars or Breitbart have of Russia.

What’s good for the goose is good for a much more prominent gander.

6. Lindsey Graham 

Lindsey Graham was a Trump opponent before it became fashionable in certain quarters. During the Republican primary, Donald Trump read out Graham’s private phone number and encouraged his supporters to ring up the Senator.

Graham was furious with Trump and later had to change his phone number.

When it comes to being a US Senator with close ties to the Ukrainian regime, only John McCain has more than Graham. Graham indeed accompanied McCain to Ukraine on his infamous New Year’s excursion and has close personal contacts with many individuals in Kiev.

For the same reasons McCain should be of interest to anyone who wants to unearth the extent of Ukrainian interference in American democracy, Graham ought to be on the list too.

July 15, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Orwell’s Nightmare: Temperature Adjustments and Climate Change

corbettreport | July 14, 2017

Who controls the temperature datasets controls the past, and who controls the past controls the future. Welcome to the Orwellian world of temperature adjustments and climate alarmism. Sit up straight and buckle up tight, because this is consensus science as brought to you by Big Brother.

SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=23211

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

US Dems Start Coordinated Bid to Obtain Trump Records, Force Votes on Russia

Sputnik – 14.07.2017

WASHINGTON – Democrats in the US House of Representatives have launched a coordinated effort to order the release of records related to President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and to force floor votes on the matter, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a briefing on Friday.

“Today we are announcing a new coordinated effort to force votes to get answers for the American people. We will force Republicans to take votes on the record… [and] we will expose House Republicans in action for their willful, shameful enabling,” Pelosi told reporters at a joint news conference with eight other lawmakers.

Seven members of Congress announced that they would introduce Resolutions of Inquiry on Friday as part of the coordinated effort.

The goal of the procedural measures is to hold Republicans accountable for their “complicity” with Trump, Pelosi said.

“They [Republicans] have become enablers of the violation of our Constitution, the attack on the integrity of our elections, the security of our country,” Pelosi said.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters said she and other Democrats on the Financial Services Committee introduced a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Treasury secretary to provide any documents related to credit extended by Russian banks or Russian government officials to the president, his immediate family, his associates or his properties and businesses.

In a similar vein, Congressman Bill Pascrell said he would introduce a Resolution of Inquiry to force the release of Trump’s tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee.

Meanwhile, Congressman Joaquin Castro introduced a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Secretary of State to provide Congress with any documents or communications records related to efforts to modify or revoke sanctions against Russia.

“If during the campaign or since the president’s inauguration members of the Trump team have considered altering sanctions on our adversary Russia, Congress and the American people need to know and have a right to know,” Castro told reporters. “House Republicans shouldn’t be providing cover for the administration and its affection for Russia.”

Congresswoman Pramilia Jayapal and Congressman David Cicilline said they would draft a Resolution of Inquiry, as well as letters to the chair of the Judiciary Committee demanding more information about Jared Kusher and Donald Trump Jr,’s affairs and meetings with Russian government officials.

Jayapal said the resolution seeks to expose the full extent of the ties between Donald Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin.

“I fear that we are witnessing a betrayal of our nation that is unlike anything we have ever seen before in American politics. And we have a responsibility to uncover the truth and to lay the facts bare for all to see and judge for themselves,” Cicilline told reporters.

For her part, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman drafted a Resolution of Inquiry calling on the Department of Homeland Security to provide the House Homeland Security Committee with all documents of payments made by the agency to Trump organizations or Trump family travel in furtherance of Trump family business.

In addition, Congressman Hank Johnson, Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure, drafted a resolution to force the General Service Administration to produce documents related to a 60-year lease agreement for the Trump Organization to develop the iconic Old Post Office building in Washington.

“We need to ensure that President Trump is not enriching himself while serving in the ultimate position of public trust,” Johnson said.

Republicans are unlikely to back any of the resolutions, but Democrats could use the recorded votes as political fodder during next year’s midterm elections.

The issue of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election has become a political weapon in Washington, with Democrats seeking to portray Trump and his Republican party as soft on Russia.

Russia has repeatedly denied interference in the US presidential election and has called such allegations absurd and intended to deflect public attention from revealed instances of election fraud and corruption as well as other domestic concerns.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | July 14, 2017

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever again judging other nations’ leaders human rights records or passing judgment on their possession or use of weapons.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) lost their case to halt the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia, the case based on the claim that they may have been used to kill civilians in Yemen.

Anyone following the cataclysmic devastation of Yemen would think it was a million to one that the £3.3 Billion worth of arms sold by the UK to Saudi in just two years, had not been used to kill civilians, bomb hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, decimate vital and economic infrastructure and all necessary to sustain life.

In context, a survey released by the Yemen Data Project in September last year found that between March 2015 and August 2016 in more than 8,600 air attacks, 3,158 hit non-military targets.

How casual the slaughter is, Saudi pilots (as their British and US counterparts) apparently do not even know what they are aiming at. So much for “surgical strikes” – as ever:

Where it could not be established whether a location attacked was civilian or military, the strikes were classified as unknown, of which there are 1,882 incidents.

All those “unknown” killed had a name, plans, dreams, but as in all Western backed, funded or armed ruinations “it is not productive” to count the dead, as an American General memorably stated of fellow human beings.

In context, the survey found that:

One school building in Dhubab, Taiz governorate, has been hit nine times … A market in Sirwah, Marib governorate, has been struck 24 times.

Commenting on the survey, the UK’s shadow Defence Secretary, Clive Lewis, said:

It’s sickening to think of British-built weapons being used against civilians and the government has an absolute responsibility to do everything in its power to stop that from happening. But as Ministers turn a blind eye to the conflict … evidence that Humanitarian Law has been violated is becoming harder to ignore by the day.

Forty six percent of Yemen’s 26.83 million population are under fifteen years old. The trauma they are undergoing cannot be imagined.

The original CAAT Court hearing which took place was a Judicial Review in to the legality of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi, held on 7th, 8th and 10th of February in the High Court.

CAAT stated, relating to the case:

For more than two years the government has refused to stop its immoral and illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen.

They also quoted Parliament’s International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, who opined in October 2016:

Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria. (Emphasis added.)

UK supplied arms since the onset of the assault on Yemen are:

£2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)

£1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles,

countermeasures)

£430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks.)

Contacting CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith I queried what “countermeasures” might be (point two.) He said technically, protective items.  However:

CAAT feels that the overwhelming majority will be bombs and missiles including those being used on Yemen.

On 5th June CAAT had pointed out some further glaring anomalies:

The last two months have seen three terrible terrorist attacks carried out in the UK. The attacks were the responsibility of those that have carried them out, and they have been rightly condemned.

However:

Last week it was revealed by the Guardian that the Home Office may not publish a Report into the funding of terrorism in the UK. It is believed that the Report will be particularly critical of Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Smith commented:

Only two months ago the Prime Minster was in Riyadh trying to sell weapons to the Saudi regime, which has some of the most abusive laws in the world. This toxic relationship is not making anyone safer, whether in the UK or in Yemen, where UK arms are being used with devastating results.

Nevertheless:

Delivering an open judgment in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Burnett, who heard the case with Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave, said: “We have concluded that the material decisions of the Secretary of State were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim”.

CAAT called the ruling a “green light” for the UK government to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.

Interestingly, in increasingly fantasy-democracy-land UK:

The Court (also handed down) a closed judgment, following a case in which half of the evidence was heard in secret on national security grounds.

What a wonderful catch-all is “national security.”

Moreover:

UK and EU arms sales rules state that export licences cannot be granted if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the equipment could be used to break International Humanitarian Law. Licences are signed off by the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox. (Emphasis added.)

Mind stretching!

So the oversight of what constitutes a “clear risk” of mass murder and humanitarian tragedy, goes to the Minister whose Ministry stands to make £ Billions from the arms sales. Another from that bulging: “You could not make this up” file.

‘The case … included uncomfortable disclosures for the government, including documents in which the Export Policy Chief told the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, then in charge of licensing: “my gut tells me we should suspend (weapons exports to the country).”

‘Documents obtained by the Guardian showed that the UK was preparing to suspend exports after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen in October 2016 killed 140 civilians. But even after that mass murder, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, advised Fox that sales should continue, adding: “The ‘clear risk’ threshold for refusal … has not yet been reached.”

For anyone asleep at the wheel, Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is supposed to be the UK’s chief diplomat. Definition: “a person who can deal with others in a sensitive and tactful way. Synonyms: Tactful person, conciliator, reconciler, peacemaker.” Comment redundant.

‘CAAT presented “many hundreds of pages” of reports from the UN, European Parliament, Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and others documenting airstrikes on schools, hospitals and a water well in Yemen, as well as incidents of mass civilian casualties.’

However, to further batter the mind:

The reports “represent a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the coalition has committed serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, the Judges wrote. “However, this open source material is only part of the picture”.

In two eye-watering fox guarding hen house observations:

The Saudi government had conducted its own investigations into allegations of concern, the judges noted, dismissing CAAT’s concern that the Saudi civilian casualty tracking unit was working too slowly and had only reported on 5% of the incidents. The Kingdom’s “growing efforts” were “of significance and a matter which the Secretary of State was entitled to take into account” when deciding whether British weapons might be used to violate international humanitarian law.

So Saudi investigates itself and the Secretary of State overviews his own actions in the State profiting in £ Billions from seemingly indiscriminate mass murder and destruction.

There was “anxious scrutiny – indeed what seems like anguished scrutiny at some stages” within government of the decision to continue granting licences, wrote the Judges. But the Secretary of State was “rationally entitled” to decide that the Saudi-led coalition was not deliberately targeting civilians and was making efforts to improve its targeting processes, and so to continue granting licences.

Pinch yourselves, Dear Readers, it would seem we live in times of the oversight in the land of the seriously deranged.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith, said:

This is a very disappointing verdict and we are pursuing an appeal. If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

Every day we are hearing new and horrifying stories about the humanitarian crisis that has been inflicted on the people of Yemen. Thousands have been killed while vital and lifesaving infrastructure has been destroyed.

The case had exposed the UK’s “toxic relationship” with Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday 12th July, UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd again invoked “national security” (something Yemenis can only dream of in any context) and presented Parliament with a paltry four hundred and thirty word “summary” of the Report on the funding of terrorism, origins of which go back to December 2015.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott encapsulated the thoughts of many, telling Parliament:

 … there is a strong suspicion this Report is being suppressed to protect this government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia. The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.

Caroline Lucas, co-Leader of the Green Party said:

The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Fallon condemned the refusal of the government to publish the Report as: “utterly shameful.”

Amber Rudd concentrated on pointing to individuals and organisations which might be donating, often unknowingly to: “ … inadvertently supporting extremist individuals or organisations.”

Peanuts compared to UK arms to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT’s appeal is to go back to the High Court and “If it fails, will go to the Court of Appeal” states Andrew Smith.

It also transpires that Saudi has dropped British made cluster bombs in Yemen, despite the UK being signatory to the 2008 Ottawa Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning their use, or assistance with their use. The Scottish National Party said it was a: “shameful stain on the UK’s foreign policy and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as a failure by this government to uphold its legal treaty obligations”.

Final confirmation that the British government’s relations with Saudi over Arms and Yemen lies somewhere between duplicity and fantasy would seem to be confirmed in an interview with Crispin Blunt, MP., former army officer and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In spite of the legal anomalies and humanitarian devastation, he assured the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse that the Saudis were “rigorous” in making sure there were no breaches of international law and adopted the sort of high standard of the British army.

In that case, the cynic might conclude, given the devastation caused by the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps it is not only arms and money that are the ties that bind the two countries, but scant regard for humanity itself.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

How the Clinton’s Longstanding Ukrainian Donor Allegedly Sponsored Hillary’s Run

Sputnik – July 14, 2017

CyberBerkut hackers believe that the Clinton Foundation’s donor Victor Pinchuk, a son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Kuchma, could have been behind the money laundering scheme involving IMF funds intended for Ukraine. The hackers alleged that these funds were then redistributed to the Clinton charity through offshores.

While the American mainstream media is struggling to find Russian “traces” in the US 2016 presidential campaign, the story of the Ukrainian interference in the election remains largely neglected.

During his testimony at the Senate Confirmation Hearing on Russia future FBI Director Christopher Wray said that he would be interested in looking into Kiev’s alleged meddling in the electoral process in the United States.

For her part, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier that there was “real collusion” between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Ukraine during the campaign.

On July 12 the CyberBerkut hacker group released what it called the email exchange of Thomas Weihe, the head of the board of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, assuming that the Pinchuk entity threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton during the US 2016 presidential campaign.

Victor Pinchuk is one of the most influential Ukrainian oligarchs and a son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

In addition, Victor and his wife Elena Pinchuk (also referred to as Olena Franchuk) are well known for their longstanding cooperation with the Clinton Foundation.

According to the Clintons’ charity website, the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation established a partnership with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) back in September 2006.”The two Foundations have committed a total of $2.5 million dollars to support CHAI’s HIV/AIDS work in Ukraine over the five-year period of 2006 through 2010,” the official press release read.

Still, according to Elena Pinchuk Foundation’s site, her cooperation with CHAI actually started in 2004 when Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of then-Ukrainian President Kuchma, “initiated the negotiations between the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative and Ukraine.”

The emails hacked by CyberBerkut have indicated that the Pinchuk-Clinton cooperation has not waned over the years.

“On behalf of CGI, we are delighted to kick off preparations for the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI] with you and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. We very much appreciate all of your Victor and Elena Pinchuk’s continued support of the work of the Clinton Global Initiative and look forward to working with you,” one of the emails said.

Furthermore, citing the Clinton Foundation’s website, the hacker group called attention to the fact that “over the past 5 years the Victor Pinchuk Foundation transferred to the Clinton Foundation from 10 to 25 million dollars.”

What is more interesting, however, is that “the largest tranches from the Pinchuk Foundation to the Clinton Foundation were held in 2015 and 2016,” according to CyberBerkut.

“By a ‘fortune chance,’ Hillary Clinton fought for the Oval at the exact same time,” the hacker group highlighted.

Interestingly enough, just two weeks before Hillary Clinton officially announced her decision to run for the presidency, Victor Pinchuk “relentlessly” sought to meet Bill Clinton wanting him to “show support for Ukraine,” as one of the Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks indicated.

“Victor Pinchuk is relentlessly following up (including this morning) about a meeting with WJC [Bill Clinton] in London or anywhere in Europe. Ideally he wants to bring together a few western leaders to show support for Ukraine, with WJC probably their most important participant. If that’s not palatable for us, then he’d like a bilat with WJC,” the email allegedly written by Ami Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director on March 30, 2015, said.

It appears that the Pinchuks and their Ukrainian allies were interested in Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 presidential run given their longstanding and close collaboration. However, that is not all.

Cyberberkut assumes that the funds given to the Clinton Foundation by Pinchuk could have originated from vanished IMF loans allocated for Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian investigation case connected to commercial banks that laundered the IMF’s money from the National Bank of Ukraine is still going on. According to the investigation, such banks as Tavrika, Pivdenkom Bank, Avtokraz Bank, CityCommerce Bank, Finrost Bank, Terra Bank, Kyivska Rus Bank, Vernum Bank, Credit Dnepr Bank, Delta Bank were involved in the criminal scheme. Funds were transferred through Austrian Meinl Bank AG,” the CyberBerkut site reads.

The hacker group highlighted that Credit Dnepr Bank and Delta Bank, related to Victor Pinchuk, offshored much more money than their counterparts.

“As it turns out, the offshore organizations that received the IMF’s money such as Melfa Group LTD (Belize), Tandice Limited (Cyprus), Tosalan Traiding Limited (Cyprus), Agalusko Investment Limited (Cyprus), Winten Trading LTD (Cyprus), Silisten Trading Limited, Nasterno Commercial Limited, are also connected to this gentleman,” CyberBerkut wrote.

“Moreover, most of the money went to the account of his main money laundering machine — the Victor Pinchuk Foundation,” the hacker group suggested.

The hackers also noted that at that time (from 2014 to 2016) the Ukrainian Finance Ministry was run by Natalie Jaresko who served as the First Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine (1992 —1995) under President Bill Clinton.

“Coming back to the Credit Dnepr Bank which belongs to V. Pinchuk it is worth to mention that his supervisory board includes former IMF managing director D. Strauss-Kahn who probably still has an influence on the international credit organization,” the hacker group remarked.

SEE ALSO:

Ukraine May Have a New President in Waiting, But He’s Another Oligarch

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment